Three Big Takeaways: Seniors sent off right

(From left to right) Iowa State seniors Mike Rose, Anthony Johnson Jr., Charlie Kolar, Jake Hummel and Chase Allen stand together after Iowa State’s 48-14 win over TCU on Nov. 26, 2021.

Matt Belinson

It was the ending Matt Campbell said this senior class deserved.

The Cyclones’ 23 seniors, credited by many as changing the trajectory of the program in their time in Ames, were honored at Senior Day on Friday in a 48-14 win over TCU.

In short, Friday night was about history — something that had never been done in Ames before, built on the backs of this senior class.

“They’ve never let us give up,” Campbell said. “Every singe one of those guys, when our back’s been against the wall, when the world expects us to give up because the ball didn’t bounce our way, man, we just keep fighting.”

And now, the Cyclones will wait to find out their bowl destination. (And there’s history in that too)

Senior playmakers get their moments

On a night when it was all about program-changers, the story couldn’t have been written much better as seemingly every senior had a moment to shine.

The offense was led by junior tailback Breece Hall and his own night of history-making, but at the end of the day Brock Purdy was as steady as he’s ever been.

The senior from Gilbert, Arizona, finished his last game at Jack Trice Stadium 21-30 for 262 yards and two touchdowns.

Walking onto the field for pregame Senior Day ceremonies, Purdy was labeled ‘the greatest quarterback in Cyclone history.’

“I do feel like we have left something for this next generation to come through and continue to build off of,” Purdy said postgame.

His final game in Jack Trice Stadium featured plenty of involvement from fellow senior pass-catchers.

Redshirt senior tight end Chase Allen had three catches for 55 yards and caught a touchdown pass catch in his final home game as a Cyclone.

His 35-yard touchdown catch was the longest play of his six-year Cyclone career.

Charlie Kolar hauled in 65 yards, putting him one yard away from passing Hakeem Butler for fourth on Iowa State’s all-time receiving list. He also set the school record for catches by a tight end in a single season with 59.

Xavier Hutchinson, a senior wide receiver, had seven catches for 107 yards. Hutchinson broke the school record for catches in a season at 82. Hutchinson has gone over 100 receiving yards four times this season.

But the defense for the Cyclones had a special night as well.

Greg Eisworth picked off TCU quarterback Max Duggan just after the Horned Frogs set up shop in the red-zone to open the fourth quarter. It was his second pick of the season, good for a career-high.

“How about Greg Eisworth’s play?” Man, you give up a tough third-down situation, Max [Duggan] makes a great throw and gives them a chance to get back in the game,” Campbell said. “It’s those seniors.”

To keep with the storybook ending, Tucker Robertson recorded his first career sack in his final home game as a Cyclone.

Eyioma Uwazurike recorded a sack as well, giving him 14.5 sacks in his career. That puts him seventh in school history.

A legacy unmatched

While disappointment could set in when the story is written on the 2021 football season given how lofty the expectations were, the success of this senior class is hard to ignore.

Here’s as short of a list on the accomplishments these 23 seniors have led over the last five seasons:

-Five-straight bowl seasons (Most in school history)

-Fifth-straight season with at least seven wins (Most in school history)

-Winning conference seasons in the Big 12 era: 1996-2016 (1) 2017-2021 (5)

-Iowa State is 16-1 at Jack Trice Stadium in its last 17 Big 12 home games

“For the last five years, Iowa State football, every time they’ve stepped onto the field and played they’ve given everybody something to hope for, something to live for and something to love,” Campbell said. “It’s a really special group. And if you miss the story, shame on you because I think it’s a story that’s really powerful.”

The All-Black uniforms

Among the many ‘firsts’ the 2021 senior class brought to Iowa State, the uniforms weren’t ignored either.

And there was no way the Cyclones’ seniors were going to go out any other way at Jack Trice. At least, that’s how Greg Eisworth saw things.

“We had a senior meeting Thursday and Campbell’s like, ‘what are we wearing?’ And I’m like, ‘dude, the equipment staff talking about wearing red.’ And he’s like, ‘nah,'” Eisworth said.

The modern day all-black uniforms (helmet, pants, jersey) debuted on Oct. 13, 2018 in Iowa State’s 30-14 win over then-No. 6 West Virginia in Jack Trice Stadium.

Fun fact: Iowa State is 9-1 when wearing the modern all-black uniforms since 2018.